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BITTER TRUTH: We are poor because we choose to be


Yesterday I bumped into a heated debate in town where one of the participants argued that unlike today, long time ago, the country had a lot of money and people were rich.

This statement sent my memories back to when I was young and something struck me…. That this was a white lie.

When I was young, I used to hear adults say “Mbeca ciagĩte mũno thikũ ici. Gũtirĩ na mbeca” (We have a scarcity of money). I was also born to see people living in Kiandutu and others in Section 9.  By then, living in Kiandutu was equated to living in abject poverty and those who lived in Section 9 were the ones the millennials are now referring to as “Dynasty”.

What am I trying to say? 

There has always been poor people and rich people and this will not end today but with eternity. Today, just as in those days, there is someone struggling to place a meal on the table but there is another one living in plenty. This is the reality and it will always be.

As we speak, buildings are sprouting like seedlings during the rainy seasons… People are buying vehicles as if they were toys. Does it mean that all these people are thieves, corrupt or earning money illegally? Not exactly. Most of them ni kujipanga while the rest of us are whining and crying ati uchumi ni mbaya and hakuna pesa.

Our biggest undoing as Kenyans is that most of us suffer from “Brain Deficiency Syndrome” (BDS). Our minds ache when we think. We just want to survive on other people’s ideas. Yes.. That’s the bitter truth.

Today, if you gave a 100 people KES. 500,000 each to restructure their lives, about 70 of them will buy a plot of land worth almost that much and remain with nothing to put up the house to live in. 

20 of them will venture into the very obvious businesses we know of; M-PESA shop, boutique, selling phones, buying matatus, bodabodas, taxi etc. Yes….. Plunging themselves into an already saturated market and expect to make it.

About 5 of those people will either spend their money on luxuries or use it to pay dowry, school fees, elevate their standard of living or such like recurrent expenditure.

How do we expect to rise in the economic ladder if 95% of us have their priorities upside down? Very unlikely.

Only the remaining 5 will invest their money prudently in untapped opportunities around them that many people never think of but are essential. Opportunities are always all around us but we are always too lazy to think or spot them. This is the group that make it in life as the rest whine and cry everyday that hakuna pesa.

We live in a generation that will bribe KES. 300,000 to have their kids join the police, KDF or even teaching without considering where the children’s heart are or even where their strengths are. That is why you find so many angry and frustrated people working in the civil service or in companies. They are frustrated because their bodies are stuck away from where their hearts are.

The day we will discover ourselves and learnt to use our brains more than our hearts will be our day of redemption. That time that we will learn to “tembea na majira” and being flexible enough will be the day we will start “kuomoka”.

Tutavuka border only when we accept that the way things worked for our grandparents and parents’ does not necessarily mean that they will work today and in the future. Life is very dynamic –  It keeps on changing and only the smartest survive.

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